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In Program mode, when you meter a scene by half-pressing the Shutter button, the camera calculates an appropriate shutter speed and aperture. There will times though when you know that you're going to want a lot of control of aperture. Maybe you are shooting portraits and you know that you want them all to have shallow depth of field. So you want to make certain that the camera is always using a wide aperture. Or, maybe you are out shooting landscapes and you know that you want really deep depth of field in all of your shots. So you want to make certain that you're always using a small aperture. Or, maybe you're street shooting and as you're shooting different subject matter, you're changing your mind about depth of field and so you want to easily be able to change from a big to small aperture.
In Aperture priority mode, you can choose the aperture that you want. And when the camera meters, it will automatically pick a corresponding shutter speed that will yield a correct exposure. You've probably figured this out already, but to change to Aperture priority mode, I use the mode dial and I go right over here to the AV, Aperture Value. That's a good way of remembering what this does. I'm going to dial in an Aperture Value and the camera will calculate a corresponding shutter speed. So you can see on my display here I now have the aperture outlined and there are little arrows, that indicates that I can turn my dial here to change the aperture.
So let's say I am shooting a landscape and I want to guarantee deep depth of field. So I am going to dial in F11, a small aperture that's going to give me deeper depth of field. Now when I half-press the Shutter button to meter, I get a shutter speed that's going to work for my scene at that aperture. Conversely, let's say that I'm shooting a portrait and I want shallow depth of field to blur out the background. So I am going to open my iris up all the way and now when I meter, I have a faster shutter speed because I haven't changed my lighting conditions. So I always get the right shutter speed for whatever aperture that I've chosen.
Now notice that if I use Exposure Compensation while in Aperture Priority mode, the Exposure Compensation control will respect my aperture choice. So if I dial in some exposure, well, let me meter first, If I dial in some Exposure Compensation, only the shutter speed is changing. It will not change the aperture. Now this does mean that unlike Program mode, it is possible for me to get into a shutter speed that's possibly too slow for handheld.
Notice though that it didn't go below a 40th of a second in this case because I'm in Auto ISO. So when shutter speed got too low, it started cranking up the ISO. So again, this is an example of how smart the Exposure Compensation control is on this camera. Even in a Priority mode, if your ISO is in Auto, it's still working to safeguard your shutter speed as best it can. Aperture Priority does not allow you to take any shots that you couldn't take in Program mode using Program Shift. Rather, it simply provides you with a speedier way to get to the aperture-based exposure settings that you want.
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